Arkansas State vs. FIU Betting Odds, Picks, Predictions: Will Red Wolves Offense Be Too Much in Camellia Bowl?
Steve Mitchell, USA Today Sports. Pictured: James Morgan
FIU vs. Arkansas State Odds for Camellia Bowl
- Spread: Pick’em
- Over/Under: 60
- Date: Saturday, Dec. 21
- Time: 5:30 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN
- Location: Montgomery, Alabama
Bowl games are all about matchups and this one should be a doozy.
Arkansas State features one of the nation’s most explosive passing offenses while Florida International boasts one of the strongest secondaries in the Group of 5.
This strength-vs-strength tilt projects to be one of the tightest games of bowl season and features the shortest spread on Saturday’s six-game slate.
FIU vs. Arkansas State Line Movement
A somewhat rare case in which the underdog is the more popular side of a bowl game, the Camellia Bowl has driven 61% of bettors (accounting for 64% of money) to Florida International. The Panthers opened as a field-goal dog, but have since dropped inside the key number to +2.5 thanks to their support in the market.
The movement on the total has been a bit more telling, as it’s fallen from 63 to 60.5 despite a 66% majority on the over. That backing, however, has generated just 53% of actual money, meaning bigger bettors are almost certainly playing a role in the line fall. — Danny Donahue
Collin Wilson: Strength vs. Strength
This will be an intriguing matchup between Arkansas State’s quick-strike offense and Florida International’s strong pass defense.
The Red Wolves are led by freshman quarterback Layne Hatcher, who paced the Sun Belt in yards per completion and passing efficiency in 201, and his No. 1 receiver, Omar Bayless, who finished second in the country with 1,473 receiving yards on 84 receptions.
FIU will spend plenty of practice time preparing to shut down Hatcher and Bayless and the Panthers may have the secondary to do it. FIU’s defense ranked 19th in defending passing explosiveness and 46th in passes defensed.
Arkansas State ranks ninth in standard downs explosiveness, which is a result of their propensity to pass on early downs. This is a tight one to call.
The Action Network Projections make this line Arkansas State -2, so there is some value on FIU at anything north of a field goal. Our projected total sits at 53 points and I think anything Under 63.5 is worth a play, as well.
Collin Wilson is 506-429-27 (54.1%) overall betting on college football as of Dec. 19. You can follow him in our free app.
Stuckey: FIU’s Secondary Can Keep Up
This is FIU’s third straight bowl appearance and Arkansas State is no stranger to the postseason, so I don’t see any distinct motivational edge in the Camellia Bowl. This matchup will likely come down to the X’s and O’s.
Overall, it was a disappointing year for the Panthers, who were in jeopardy of missing a bowl before a massive upset against Miami. The offense underperformed expectations, but quarterback James Morgan injured his knee in Week 2 and that hampered his production. Morgan should now be as healthy as he’s been all season and the fifth-year senior will certainly relish his first opportunity to play in a bowl game.
FIU’s offensive line has started to gel as the season progressed and the Panthers have two explosive runningbacks that should hit explosive runs against the Red Wolves, who struggled to stop rushing explosiveness.
On the other side of the ball, I’m note sure FIU can contain Bayless, but as Collin noted the secondary is good enough to potentially slow him down. The Panthers have a potential NFL cornerback in Stanley Thomas-Oliver, who will be tasked with the job of shutting down Arkansas State’s All-American wideout. FIU ranks in the top 25 in passing yards per attempt, completion percentage and passing explosiveness while ranking seventh in passing yards per game. This secondary is one of the best in the Group of 5. The Panthers have the personnel to match up with Arkansas State’s aerial attack.
Give me FIU as a dog here, preferably at 3 or better.
Stuckey is 528-487-30 (52%) overall betting on college football as of Dec. 19. You can follow him in our free app.